JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of feed delivery time on feed intake, milk production, and blood metabolites of dairy cows

A Nikkhah, C J Furedi, A D Kennedy, G H Crow, J C Plaizier
Journal of Dairy Science 2008, 91 (11): 4249-60
18946130
The objective of the study was to determine the effects of feed delivery time and its interactions with dietary concentrate inclusion and parity on milk production and on 24-h averages and patterns of feed intake and blood metabolites. Four multiparous and 4 primiparous lactating Holstein cows were used in a 4 x 4 Latin square design with a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments. Experimental periods included 14 d of adaptation and 7 d of sampling. A higher concentrate diet with a forage:concentrate ratio (dry matter basis) of 38:62 or a lower-concentrate diet with a forage:concentrate ratio of 51:49 was delivered at either 0900 or 2100 h. During sampling periods, daily feed intakes, as well as feed intakes during 3-h intervals relative to feed delivery, were determined. During 2 nonconsecutive days of the sampling period, jugular blood was sampled every 2 h. Average temperature and relative humidity in the experimental facility were 20.4 degrees C and 68.1%, and the maximum daily air temperature did not exceed 25 degrees C. This data does not suggest that cows were heat-stressed. Changing feed delivery time from 0900 to 2100 h increased the amount of feed consumed within 3 h after feeding from 27 to 37% of total daily intake but did not affect daily dry matter intake. The cows fed at 2100 h had lower blood glucose at 2 h after feeding but greater blood lactate and beta-hydroxybutyrate acid at 2 and 4 h after feeding than cows fed at 0900 h. These effects of feed delivery time on the 24-h patterns in blood metabolites may be caused by the greater feed intake during the 3 h after feed delivery of the cows fed at 2100 h. Daily averages of glucose, urea, lactate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate acid and nonesterified fatty acids in peripheral blood were not affected by time of feeding. The change in feed delivery time did not affect milk yield and milk protein but increased milk fat percentage from 2.5 to 2.9% and milk fat yield from 0.98 to 1.20 kg/d in multiparous cows, without affecting milk fat in primiparous cows. The interactions between diet and time of feeding on daily feed intake, milk production, and blood metabolites were not significant. The effects of the time of feed delivery on the 24-h patterns in blood metabolites suggest that this time may affect peripheral nutrient availability. Results of this study suggest beneficial effects of feeding at 2100 h instead of at 0900 h on milk fat production of lactating cows, but parity appears to mediate this effect.

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